Over the weekend I went to Michigan to visit my family.  While there my parents gave me my Great Grandma’s Cast Iron Skillet.  Not only was it a cast iron skillet, it was a Wagner Ware Sidney #8 – 10.5″ skillet.  When I got it home I noticed that it needed to be seasoned.  How does one season, or re-season in this case, a cast iron skillet?

Wagner Ware Sidney
Wagner Ware #8

As you can see from the picture above the cast iron is in need of some seasoning.

The first step is to preheat your oven to to 275 degrees.

Rinse your pan and dry it off.  This will clean it of any dust or other particles.  Then using a solid fat, rub the pan down nicely.  I used crisco but you can use lard, shortening, bacon fat, or pretty much any solid fat.

Rub your pan with some fat
Rub your pan with some fat

After you finish your pan should be coated.

Ready for the oven
Ready for the oven

Place the pan in the preheated oven and set your timer for 20 minutes.

In the oven
In the oven

After the 20 minutes is up, remove the pan from the oven and drain the liquid out.  Then place back in the oven for 2-3 hours.  When the time is up your pan is seasoned.

Seasoned and looks brand new
Seasoned and looks brand new

Look at these before and after shots.

Before
Before

After
After

Sometimes if you have a new pan you should season it a couple of times before using. Also it is best to make some bacon in it the first couple of times. This will help solidify the seasoning of the pan. Once you are done cooking up some bacon, it is ready for some awesome cornbread.

Check back later this week for some awesome cast iron cooking.

Rex is an avid griller, barbecuer and bacon enthusiast. He is the Pitmaster for the Rex BBQ competition team. Rex was also featured on the TV show American Grilled. If you have any questions or wish to have Rex decode your favorite dish, click on the ASK REX link in the menu above.

4 Comments

  1. I have the wagner ware sidney as described in your tag. I was wondering what it’s worth as mine is at least 75 – 100 years old. I would appreciate your input.

  2. Kay, about your Wagner… on the open market, it's worth about 10 to 20 bucks… Maybe 30 on a good day… but in your kitchen, it's priceless. I have 3 different sizes and use them all the time. They're wonderful.

  3. I have my great uncle's Wagner Ware #8 but it was so bumpy from build-up I decided to see how I could start from scratch to make it smooth and nicely seasoned. Found a web site that suggested putting it in the oven through one self-clean cycle (I put foil under it on a rack). It worked like a charm! I took it out and used steel wool to clean it up even more. Now it is smooth and the logo is more pronounced. I am about to season it and know it will be beautiful.

  4. Allison Wunderland Reply

    Maintenance — Don't wash these items w/ soap. Warm water and a scouring pad works (NOT a soap pad!) Soap dissolves and removes the polymerized fat that is the seasoning on the skillet. I scrub mine out, wipe down w/ a paper towel, then apply a light coat of cooking oil to the surface — top and bottom. Set the pan back on the warm burner if available.

    "Seasoning" is a chemical process of carbonizing fats and molecular bonding w/ the cast iron. I've taken Dutch Ovens, coated them w/ shortening and buried them in the campfire coals.

    Heat, fire are friends of cast iron cookware. The big enemy of cast iron is soap — which removes the seasoning.

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